Uncomfortable feelings of bloat or stomach distress are typically caused by taking high levels of creatine during a loading phase. You can reduce or eliminate bloat by beginning with a maintenance dose of 3–6 grams of creatine and maintaining that daily for as long as you take creatine. However, creatine does cause extra water to be stored in your muscles, which will increase your total overall body weight. It can also make the muscles throughout your body—including your abdominal muscles—have a fuller look.
Why Does Creatine Cause Bloating?
Bloat from creatine often comes from beginning a creatine regimen with a “loading phase.” During a loading phase, you will take 20–25 grams of creatine daily. This is one method that helps creatine work faster. Using a loading phase helps boost your performance in the gym within 1 week. However, taking such large quantities of creatine can cause intestinal distress, stomach ache, feelings of bloat, and diarrhea.
- Creatine bloat is usually most acute when you are in a creatine “loading phase” where you take 20–25 grams of creatine daily
- Using a creatine loading phase can cause stomach distress and diarrhea that makes you feel and look bloated.
- Even after your creatine loading phase ends, taking creatine long-term causes your body to store 5–7 pounds (2–3 kilos) of extra water in your muscles.
- In some cases, excess water storage from creatine supplementation can cause a slightly bloated look and feel.
In addition to bloat during the loading phase, taking a maintenance dose of creatine (3–6 grams daily) causes your body to store more water in your muscles. A fact that has been backed up by several scientific studies. Taking creatine for any period of time longer than a week will cause your body to store 5–7 pounds (2–3 kilos) of water weight. This extra stored water can increase any bloated feeling you’re having.
Does Creatine Bloating Go Away?
Feelings of bloat and gastrointestinal distress usually diminish when you exit your creatine loading phase and begin taking a maintenance dose of 3–6 grams of creatine. As your body gets used to creatine supplementation and you stop taking large doses, your stomach will settle and bloated sensations will diminish.
- Bloat and other creatine side effects diminish once you shift from creatine loading to a maintenance dose.
- Long-term feelings of bloat (after 3–4 weeks of creatine supplementation) are caused by increased water retention due to creatine.
If you still feel bloated after taking creatine at maintenance doses for more than 3–4 weeks, the bloated look and feel is caused by the excess water creatine causes to be stored in your muscles. If you quit using creatine, the bloated look and feel will go away. There are also a few other things that will happen when you stop taking creatine.
How Do You Stop Bloating From Creatine?
By reducing your creatine dosage to the maintenance dose of 3–6 grams per day, you can prevent or reduce sensations of bloat. Although it will take longer to get the benefits of creatine if you begin with this smaller dose, you will still see those benefits within 3–4 weeks. Plus, you’re far less likely to have an upset stomach if you stick to a smaller dose.
- Limit your dosage to 3–6 grams of creatine daily.
- Switch to a high-quality creatine supplement brand.
- Try different forms of creatine, such as creatine monohydrate or creatine hydrochloride.
Another way to stop or reduce creatine bloat is by switching to a different brand of creatine. A high-quality creatine monohydrate supplement is less likely to make you feel bloated. However, if you feel bloated while taking creatine monohydrate, consider using a different form of creatine. Creatine hydrochloride (also called HCL) may work better for you.
Does Creatine Make You Gain Belly Fat?
Creatine does not cause you to gain fat. However, creatine does cause increased body water retention. So, when you begin taking creatine you may notice yourself gaining a few pounds. Don’t worry, this is merely water stored in the muscles. You will lose this water weight about 1 week after you quit taking creatine.
- Creatine does not trigger fat gain.
- Although creatine can cause your body weight to rise, this is due to extra stored water in your muscles.
- The additional water stored in your abdominal muscles can contribute to a slightly larger-looking belly.
Because creatine triggers your body to store extra water in your muscles, it can make your muscles appear fuller or puffier. This includes abdominal muscles. So, taking creatine may cause your belly to look slightly larger, but this is not due to fat gain.
Does Creatine Cause Bloating in Your Face?
Creatine can cause slight bloating in your face. This is due to your body storing more water in your facial muscles while you take creatine. This is a side effect of all forms of creatine supplements. However, the bloating is usually minimal.
- Extra water storage caused by creatine supplements can cause minor facial puffiness.
- Changes in appearance due to creatine supplementation are not a cause for alarm.
- Your face muscles will lose this excess water if you stop taking creatine.
A slightly puffier appearance in your face is not due to fat gain or any damage done by creatine. If you stop taking creatine, your body will flush out the excess water within about 1 week. Then, your face will lose all signs of bloating.
Does Creatine Make You Look Fat?
Taking creatine can cause some changes in your appearance. However, none of these are dangerous or long-lasting. Here are the facts about creatine bloat:
- Beginning creatine supplementation with a “loading phase” of high creatine doses can cause bloating, discomfort, and an upset stomach.
- Reducing creatine intake to a “maintenance dose” of 3–6 grams daily can eliminate the worst symptoms of creatine bloat.
- All creatine use causes your body to store 5–7 pounds (2–3 kilos) of extra water in your muscles.
- Extra stored water can make your muscles appear larger and may cause slight bloat to your abdominal muscles and face.
- Creatine does not cause you to gain fat.
- Quitting creatine will trigger your body to flush out excess water and reduce bloat within 1 week.
Now that you know more about the effects of creatine supplementation, you’ll know what to expect. Based on your goals for your physique, you can alter your creatine intake to get the benefits of creatine without bloating and discomfort.